Obituary: Norman Ray Cates
May 21, 2018
Norman Ray Cates
Oct. 23, 1930 — Nov. 10, 2017
Norman Ray Cates passed away peacefully Nov. 10, 2017 at Pikes Peak Hospice in Colorado Springs.
Cates was born Oct. 23, 1930, in Nashville, Tennessee to parents, George and Effie. He was raised in Deckerd, Tennessee, and graduated from Franklin High school in 1948. He immediately enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, where he served four years and saw duty in Korea as a gunner on a B-29. Cates also served 16 years in the National Guard.
After the Air Force, Cates returned to Tennessee, where he attended the Tennessee Valley Authority Schooling for Power Plant Operators. That began his career in the electric utility industry.
In 1965, he moved to Craig to work for Colorado Ute Electric Association, where he eventually became manager of the Hayden Power Plant.
He married Verla Jo Rowley in 1975.
In 1974, Cates became the field construction coordinator for the Yampa Project in Craig. In 1981, he became the Craig Station manager, supervising the operations of all Colorado Ute’s Generation Facilities.
Cates and Verla moved to Montrose, Colorado, for a short time; then, his career took them to Palatka, Florida, where he was the power station manager for Seminole Electric. They spent four to five years in Saudi Arabia, where Cates was manager of a desalination water plant.
They then retired to Sun Lakes, Arizona, for several years. Cates enjoyed his “noon” tee time and golfed several days each week.
In 2012, they moved to Loveland, Colorado, to be closer to family, and finally, moved to Colorado Springs in 2016.
Norman Ray Cates was a man who loved life. He enjoyed gardening, boating, hunting, camping, flying airplanes, scuba diving, fishing, problem solving and playing poker. He liked shopping garage sales and thrift stores and traveling with Verla all over. They only missed seeing two of our 50 states.
Cates was proud, optimistic, generous and patriotic, a man who loved his family and who enjoyed life to the fullest.
He was preceded in death by a son, Doug and, recently, son, David. He is survived by his wife Verla Jo; sons, Lynne Cates and Alan Rowley; a daughter, Jacqueline Murray; his twin sister, Norma Fay and brother, George; five grandchildren; and three great grandchildren.
There will be a Military Honors Graveside Service for Cates at 11 a.m. Sunday May 27 at the Craig Cemetery.
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